SAN DIEGO – Rookie quarterback Jeff Driskel’s final bid to solidify his roster spot did not go well.
Driskel, a sixth-round draft pick, opened the third quarter after Colin Kaepernick played the entire first half. Driskel’s first pass attempted, intended for tight end Blake Bell, was intercepted by San Diego Chargers safety Adrian McDonald.
His next pass attempt? That was also intercepted.
With all of the projected regular-season starters taking the night off, the 49ers closed out the exhibition season with a 31-21 win over the Chargers on Thursday night at Qualcomm Stadium.
Driskel made an ill-advised throw across his body under pressure from ouside linebacker Christopher Landrum. Chargers cornerback Trevor Williams made the interception.
Driskel’s night lasted just three possessions. He completed one of his four pass attempts for just 3 yards and two interceptions. Driskel also rushed for 16 yards on two attempts.
Christian Ponder entered late in the third quarter and finished the game. He completed 8 of 14 passes for 101 yards. Ponder scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to pull the 49ers to within 21-16 with 5:53 remaining in the fourth quarter. Then, his 5-yard scoring run gave the 49ers a 24-21 lead with 3:08 remaining.
Blaine Gabbert, who started the 49ers’ first three exhibition games and is expected to be named the regular-season starter, did not suit up.
Sitting it out: Almost every player expected to open the season in the 49ers’ starting lineup -– or play a key role -- did not suit up for Thursday game.
Those players include: Gabbert, running back Carlos Hyde, receivers Torrey Smith and Quinton Patton, tight ends Vance McDonald and Garrett Celek, offensive linemen Joe Staley, Anthony Davis, Trent Brown, Zane Beadles and Daniel Kilgore, defensive linemen Quinton Dial, Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner, linebackers NaVorro Bowman, Ahmad Brooks, Eli Harold, Ray-Ray Armstrong and Gerald Hodgesand defensive backs Tramaine Brock, Jimmie Ward, Eric Reid and Antoine Bethea.
Others who were held out of the game were defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey (knee), cornerbacks Chris Davis and Keith Reaser, safety Jaquiski Tartt, offensive lineman John Theus, linebacker Nick Bellore, running back Shaun Draughn, and wide receivers DeAndre Smelter and Bryce Treggs,
This ‘n’ that
--Newly acquired slot receiver Jeremy Kerley started and caught two passes from Kaepernick for 18 yards.
--Wide receiver Dres Anderson made his case for a roster spot with a tough catch for a 14-gain to the San Diego 1-yard line on a third-and-8 play on the opening drive.
--Rookie cornerback Rashard Robinson intercepted a pass from Chargers quarterback Mike Bercovici early in the third quarter.
--Outside linebacker Marcus Rush recorded his fifth and sixth sacks in the past three exhibition games. He also had an interception off a Rashard Robinson pass breakup, as well as a forced fumble.
--Blake Bell’s 34-yard touchdown pass from Christian Ponder early in the fourth quarter was nullified when Bell was called for offensive pass interference.
--Michael Wilhoite, Armstrong and Hodges were in competition for the starting job through training camp. While Armstrong and Hodges did not suit up, Wilhoite started and played all four quarters. Wilhoite was credited with six tackles but also missed a couple of tackles.
--Inside linebacker Shayne Skov, who, like Wilhoite, played the entire game, recorded a team-high seven tackles. He also broke up two passes.
--Running back DuJuan Harris capped the 49ers’ first drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. Harris rushed for 28 yards on nine attempts.
--Rookie running back Kelvin Taylor, who did not play a week ago, led the 49ers with 56 rushing yards and a touchdown on nine attempts. Mike Davis gained 37 yards on five attempts.
--Defenisve lineman Garrison Smith recorded a fourth-quarter sack.
What’s next: The 49ers must now trim their roster to the 53-player limit before the league-wide deadline of Saturday, 1 p.m.